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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Day 10 - Varanasi

Varanasi is a very interesting, spiritual place. You can really feel the power of the Ganges river and the cycle of life and death here. I was worried that it was going to be filled with fake spiritual people trying to rip you off, and I am sure there are, but I haven’t seen any. There also seems to be more animals in the street (cows, goats, dogs, cats, chickens, mice, rats, and monkeys). However, the pollution here is terrible. I’m not sure if I got a cold or if it is all the pollution, but I can’t breathe and my throat is scratchy.

Last night we went on an evening boat ride to see some of the spiritual ceremonies that take place on the river. Within two seconds I was almost hit in the head with a cricket ball (missed my head by about 2 inches) because I wasn’t paying attention to the game because I was moving out of the way of a charging bull that was coming right at me. The boat ride was nice, although the mosquitoes were horrendous. However, I did not seem to get any bites. Anyway, after the boat ride I came back and passed out.

Today, I had to wake up around 5:30 because we took a morning boat ride to see the sunrise, bathing ceremonies and burning of the bodies on the river. They cremate around 1500 bodies a day at each of the burning sites. It really makes you think because on one side of the river you have the sun coming up, there is the beach and trees a kind of symbol for birth or life and on the other side you have the cleaning of the dead and their cremated ashes of those who have past on into the next life (death) being tossed into the river. It is a pretty powerful statement for the circle of life and death on banks of the Ganges.

After the boat ride and some breakfast we (guide, two girls from Belgium went to some Hindu temples and saw some of the ceremonies. The one temple was like it’s a small world with all types of animated puppet shows. After the tour the girls wanted to go to an astrologer so I went with them.

So anyway, the guy from the hotel brought us to this guy that has counseled Goldie Hawn and Michael Jackson among many others. He was very expensive and had three different prices depending upon what you wanted done. I picked the cheapest option, but he told me I should have the full reading. I politely declined.

I was supposed to go to Sarnath today, but because of the reading it was way too late so we came back to the hotel to eat, rest and do some laundry. Early night tonight - there is a goat that likes to get up very early in the morning and start crying.

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